When you are having trouble with a door or all the doors in your home, there is a good chance that you have a hinge problem on your hands. Compared to any other type of hardware in the typical home, hinges do the most work. Not only do they support the weight of doors, but they also allow those doors to swing in and out of their openings. With all the opening and closing that occurs, it is no surprise why hinges wear down over time. When it comes to all the common door hinge issues that most homeowners face, this guide will give you a head start on fixing those hinges for good.
Common Door Hinge Issues
Loose Hinges: Is your door starting to sag or hang crooked? Door hinges have a magical way of becoming loose with time and use. Sometimes all you need to do to fix the problem is retighten the hinge screws. However, if stripped holes prevent you from retightening the hinge screws, a dowel might just save the day. Start by opening the door and wedging a piece of wood underneath to keep it level. Remove the screws that attach the loose hinge to the door jamb. Swing the leaf away from the jamb. Bore out the stripped holes with a bit. Spread carpenter’s glue on a one-inch-long wood dowel of the same diameter as the hole and tap it into the hole until it is flush with the door jamb. Bore out and plug each of the remaining stripped screw holes using this same method. Wait at least one hour for it to dry before you reposition the hinge leaf and bore pilot holes. Secure the hinge by driving screws into the dowel-reinforced holes.
Stuck Hinge Pin: In an older home, chances are the doors have been latched in place for a long time. Depending on the age and general condition of the door’s hinges and pins, it may be difficult to remove them. Using a few tools you probably have lying around the garage, you can nudge the hinge pin loose. If your home has brass or nickel-plated hinges, you can wedge the screwdriver head under the head of the hinge pin and gently tap the screwdriver’s handle with a hammer to push the pin up and free it from the hinge. If the hinge pin is corroded and stuck in place, you can try hammering it from beneath with some assistance from an 8d nail (2.5 inches long) or a similarly sized nail. Position the point of the nail at the bottom of the pin and gently tap the nail head from beneath using a hammer to force the pin free.
Squeaky Hinges: When the sound of opening or closing a door brings you to the brink of madness, it may be time to lubricate those hinges. You can use WD-40, soap, or even a little olive oil to stop hinges from squeaking. By lubricating the hinges, you should be able to stop them from squeaking instantly. Loosen each hinge pin by gently tapping them with a hammer or mallet. Once the pin is loose, lift it out. You can lightly coat the hinge pin with petroleum jelly, which won’t run off and make a mess like oil or other lubricants. Dab a little petroleum jelly in the top of the pin slot too.
Unlevel Jamb: When the door jamb isn’t level, it can cause the door to lean. You could, of course, take the door down and reset the jamb, but there is an easier way to get the door working properly again. By shimming the source of the problem, you can correct the gap difference. If the gap difference is any more than 3/8 inches, you will probably need to reset the jamb. Measure the gap between the top and bottom of the door and subtract the measurements to determine the difference as well as what type of shim you need. Thin cardboard is a good solution for most hinge problems, as it won’t split when you drive screws through it and it won’t compress when you tighten the screws. You can add multiple layers of cardboard to increase the thickness of the shim. You can also buy pre-made shims, which are pre-drilled and easy to use, especially for steel doors and heavy entry doors.
While the hinges are still in place, open the door and wedge a piece of wood under it to support the weight and prevent the door from moving as you unscrew the hinge. Remove the screws using a screwdriver or a drill with the appropriate bit. If you need to remove all three hinges, leave the middle hinge for last. Slide the shim behind the hinge that needs extra spacing. Drive the screws back in, checking the operation of the door as you go. Add or remove cardboard until the door is straight and working properly. Leave the middle hinge unattached while you make necessary adjustments.
Hopefully, this guide has helped in terms of addressing some of the most common door hinge issues, because you are not alone. HardwareSource offers a wide selection of replacement door hinges, and we can help you find the right solution for any need. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about this guide or our hardware selection!